Jürgen Todenhöfer spent months in covert negotiations with Islamic State fighters over Skype, until he had reassurances from the very highest levels of the “Caliphate” that he would be safe in Iraq and Syria. The veteran German reporter then packed a small bag and departed for the most dangerous place on Earth.
Todenhöfer, speaking to ABC News, said he had made contact with up to 80 fighters before he decided to make the trip, building a strong enough bond with two of them to feel sure he would be safe. As sure as he could be.
The journalist and author, who has been one of the most prominent critics of Western intervention in the Middle East, said he was under no illusions that the Islamic State’s fighters could easily renege on their promise to keep him safe while he travelled in the regions under their control, where he said he was “allegedly” the first Western journalist to visit Islamic State.